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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Twelve Angry Men (1957)



Reviews and Comments

Henry Fonda leads a superb cast of twelve (angry) jury members discussing a murder case. It was the first directorial effort of the brilliant Sidney Lumet and ranks with his best. Lumet is and was a meticulous director, employing subtle mechanisms to enhance the action. The camera, for instance, shoots the jury from a lower and lower perspective as the film progresses so that the ceiling presses upon them harder and harder, gradually increasing the feeling of claustrophobia. The film was shot on a very low budget, which meant that if the lighting was set up for a shot that takes place from one particular angle, all shots taken from the same angle had to be filmed then and there. Different sides of the same conversation were sometimes shot weeks apart. Yet, amazingly, the finished film betrays none of the cumbersome production routines. Twelve Angry Men is a tightly constructed, tense, riveting, intelligent drama that's both thought-provoking and enlighting. Henry Fonda plays the single member of a jury who thinks the defendant may be innocent. Not to be missed.

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